5 Reasons Why the Breading Keeps Falling Off Your Chicken

Here are five secrets for keeping that breading right where you want it—on the meat.

Breaded chicken is one of the easiest dinners to throw together in a pinch. Try this recipe for perfectly seasoned chicken strips. It’s fast, filling and delicious, and can be a great complement to salads or pasta dishes. As easy as breaded chicken is to throw together, perfecting the technique can be tricky at first. It seems that all too often, breading falls off chicken, leaving you with half of the crunchy goodness you started with. So how do you fix it?

Whether you’re using a beer batter or the classic three-step system (egg, flour, crumb), here are the five biggest mistakes when breading, and how to make sure you’ve got the crispiest, crunchiest cutlets in the neighborhood.

1. You Don’t Start Dry

The first step to breading chicken is crucial; make sure the chicken is completely dry before starting the dredging process. Using a paper towel, pat the meat dry on all sides. Excess moisture will cause the flour to get soggy and thus will not adhere properly to the chicken.

2. Not Shaking Off the Flour

Be sure to shake off any excess flour on the chicken. Excess flour will create a coating that prevents the egg mixture from latching on to the chicken, which ultimately will prevent the breading from sticking properly. For crispy, flavorful chicken, make sure to remove any excess flour before proceeding.

3. Skimping on the Crumb

Whatever you coat the chicken in, make sure to do so thoroughly. No matter what type of crumb you use, coat the meat evenly and completely on every side. Step it up with this recipe for pretzel-coated chicken nuggets.

4. Forgetting the Last Pat

After you’ve covered the meat in breading, pat it down gently on all sides so that every piece sticks to the egg layer. Well-coated chicken is the key to crunchy cutlets, so make sure the breading is patted down before cooking.

5. Being Impatient

If you’re frying, heat the oil in a dutch oven or cast iron skillet. After the chicken pieces are thoroughly coated in the breading mixture, place them in the hot oil—with plenty of space in between—and let them be! The more you touch the chicken with tongs, the more likely the breading is to fall off. If the cutlets are touching each other, the more likely the breading is to come off. The key here is to be patient. As soon as you see a golden rim appear around the side of the chicken that is submerged in oil, feel free to flip it. Be cautious not to touch or turn the chicken too much. Craving fried chicken? Learn how to deep fry at home with confidence.

The same goes for baking your cutlets—give them space, flip them once, then it’s hands off.

These steps will guarantee that breading stays on your chicken. Crunchy, evenly coated chicken is the key to delicious chicken fingers, chicken parmesan or this southern specialty with gravy.

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Laura Denby
Laura is a New York-based freelance food writer with a degree in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education and a degree in Journalism from Penn State. Her work has appeared in Taste of Home, Chowhound, the Culture Trip and Patch.